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From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a magical journey of revenge and redemption. Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of d From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a magical journey of revenge and redemption. Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of destroying the usurper. But this will mean turning to unlikely allies and opening herself up to unpleasant memories that have been suppressed for many years. For Yalxi is no great hero, but a cunning sorceress who once forged her path in blood – and must reckon with the consequences. Set in a fantastical land where jewels and blood provide symbiotic magical powers to their wearers, The Return of the Sorceress evokes the energy of classic sword and sorcery, while building a thoroughly fresh and exciting adventure ripe for our era.


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From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a magical journey of revenge and redemption. Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of d From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a magical journey of revenge and redemption. Yalxi, the deposed Supreme Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, is on a desperate mission. Her lover and confidant seized her throne and stole the precious diamond heart, the jewel that is the engine of her power. Yalxi sets out to regain her magic and find a weapon capable of destroying the usurper. But this will mean turning to unlikely allies and opening herself up to unpleasant memories that have been suppressed for many years. For Yalxi is no great hero, but a cunning sorceress who once forged her path in blood – and must reckon with the consequences. Set in a fantastical land where jewels and blood provide symbiotic magical powers to their wearers, The Return of the Sorceress evokes the energy of classic sword and sorcery, while building a thoroughly fresh and exciting adventure ripe for our era.

30 review for The Return of the Sorceress

  1. 4 out of 5

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    The Return of the Sorceress is a novella, not a novel. Fair warning. This is sword and sorcery and thus a departure from my other works, too. It's coming out in print as a limited edition from Subterranean, but will also be available as an e-book and in audio format at some point. Review copies via Netgalley: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo... The Return of the Sorceress is a novella, not a novel. Fair warning. This is sword and sorcery and thus a departure from my other works, too. It's coming out in print as a limited edition from Subterranean, but will also be available as an e-book and in audio format at some point. Review copies via Netgalley: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Holly (Holly Hearts Books)

    Full review to come on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks Whether you are ravenous for more Silvia Moreno-Garcia like me, or don't even know what you're in for, I don't think you'll be disappointed. This book sits around 100 pages but at times it felt like I was reading a full length novel, epic fantasy proportion. I had to reel myself back in at times and untrick my brain to realize "oh it's a shorty. My time is limited." It's a sad remembrance because I didn't want to Full review to come on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/hollyheartsbooks Whether you are ravenous for more Silvia Moreno-Garcia like me, or don't even know what you're in for, I don't think you'll be disappointed. This book sits around 100 pages but at times it felt like I was reading a full length novel, epic fantasy proportion. I had to reel myself back in at times and untrick my brain to realize "oh it's a shorty. My time is limited." It's a sad remembrance because I didn't want to leave.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    ↠ 4 stars A deposed sorceress seeks revenge and redemption after being betrayed by her lover and long-time friend in this fantasy novella from author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Ousted and deprived of the source of her power, housed in the diamond heart, sorceress Yalxi undertakes a dangerous road to try to restore her magic and overthrow the very person who betrayed her. Doing so means returning to her rather unpleasant past and turning to unlikely allies who understand just what she sacrificed in ord ↠ 4 stars A deposed sorceress seeks revenge and redemption after being betrayed by her lover and long-time friend in this fantasy novella from author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Ousted and deprived of the source of her power, housed in the diamond heart, sorceress Yalxi undertakes a dangerous road to try to restore her magic and overthrow the very person who betrayed her. Doing so means returning to her rather unpleasant past and turning to unlikely allies who understand just what she sacrificed in order to become an all-powerful sorceress. Even before I began reading The Return of the Sorceress there was not a doubt in my mind that I would enjoy it, or that it would become yet another Silvia Moreno-Garcia book to surpass all of my wildest expectations. Though this is is the first novella I've read by its author, Moreno-Garcia attacks this with as much fervor as she did her previous books. The Return of the Sorceress sings, with magic that cuts deep to the core and brings with it the promise of revenge. Despite the constraint brought on by the page count, this novella manages to bring in such complexity and nuance to the character of Yalxi, a fallen sorceress on a quest for vengeance. Set in a collision of the past and present, there is an emotional depth that lingers behind every part of the story. Considering that is the general problem I have had with novellas in the past, I am so happy that was not lacking in this one. Though there is a slow build-up and a quick resolution to the issue at hand, like many of her past novels, Moreno-Garcia leaves the door open for the possibility of more to come in the future. The enveloping world and blood magic system are certainly enough for me to crave another story in this setting, yet I am not left feeling as if the novella itself isn't complete. With a deep look into the corruptive nature of power tied up in an epic journey to reclaim the lost parts of oneself, it's hard to feel like this was lacking in any respect. Infused with Mesoamerican folklore aspects, there is even more to enjoy about this hundred-page novelette than just the setup to the story. Besides just keeping me entertained, this novel only further solidified Silvia Moreno-Garcia as one of my favorite authors of all time. Will certainly be keeping an eye out for whatever else she writes next! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review Trigger warnings: blood, murder

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia does it again! I always love her work and this novella is no exception. The Return of the Sorceress is a dark tale of blood magic, following a woman who gained and lost great power and is on a quest to recover that power yet again. As with all of her work, this takes a genre often dominated by white narratives (in this case sword & sorcery) and grounds it in the culture and mythology of her own Mexican heritage. This novella is drawing on Aztec history and mythology, with a Silvia Moreno-Garcia does it again! I always love her work and this novella is no exception. The Return of the Sorceress is a dark tale of blood magic, following a woman who gained and lost great power and is on a quest to recover that power yet again. As with all of her work, this takes a genre often dominated by white narratives (in this case sword & sorcery) and grounds it in the culture and mythology of her own Mexican heritage. This novella is drawing on Aztec history and mythology, with a darkly magical twist and a badass, morally grey heroine. And can we appreciate the fact that this book is about a world-weary woman in her 30's who has been through a lot? It swept me away and was in my opinion a perfectly paced novella. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristina (heartsfullofreads)

    Silvia Moreno-Garica is one of my favorite authors and I was really excited to read her take on sword and sorcery. As always, her writing was fantastic. Considering this is a novella, the world was very well realized which I found impressive. I loved that she incorporated Mesoamerican mythology into the story. It was definitely a highlight for me. Yalxi was was a flawed, very morally gray protagonist. She was also in her mid thirties which was SO refreshing. Can this become more of a thing in a Silvia Moreno-Garica is one of my favorite authors and I was really excited to read her take on sword and sorcery. As always, her writing was fantastic. Considering this is a novella, the world was very well realized which I found impressive. I loved that she incorporated Mesoamerican mythology into the story. It was definitely a highlight for me. Yalxi was was a flawed, very morally gray protagonist. She was also in her mid thirties which was SO refreshing. Can this become more of a thing in adult fantasy please?! She utilized a blood magic system, which worked well with the dark vibes of the story. There were some loose rules about the magic mentioned, but nothing too in depth. I do wish I would of had more of an emotional connection to the story, but that can be hard to do in less than 100 pages. Overall, this was a really solid novella and there was a lot to like. I really hope the author will write more fantasy books in the future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    3.5 stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lady H

    There is a whole world here. This very short novella contains within it the potential for an epic fantasy series, and I think it was to the detriment of these characters, this very cool magic system, and this intriguing world, for it to have been written as a novella rather than at least a lengthy novel. I could have used more time with the characters and more about their past relationship, so I could develop a stronger emotional connection to the story. As it was, I enjoyed this, but it was a m There is a whole world here. This very short novella contains within it the potential for an epic fantasy series, and I think it was to the detriment of these characters, this very cool magic system, and this intriguing world, for it to have been written as a novella rather than at least a lengthy novel. I could have used more time with the characters and more about their past relationship, so I could develop a stronger emotional connection to the story. As it was, I enjoyed this, but it was a middling sort of enjoyment, because it all felt surface-level, like I was skimming or reading the bare-bones of a story. I wanted much more!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I was so excited to receive an ARC of this because I loved Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic and while Gods of Jade and Shadow wasn't my favorite, it was still highly readable and fun. The Return of the Sorceress is a 100 page short story, and can be read in about an hour and a half. It features Yalxi, a sorceress who was betrayed and almost killed by her ex-lover, and her quest for revenge and to take back what was lost. Sometimes I struggle with short stories because for me it's really hard I was so excited to receive an ARC of this because I loved Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic and while Gods of Jade and Shadow wasn't my favorite, it was still highly readable and fun. The Return of the Sorceress is a 100 page short story, and can be read in about an hour and a half. It features Yalxi, a sorceress who was betrayed and almost killed by her ex-lover, and her quest for revenge and to take back what was lost. Sometimes I struggle with short stories because for me it's really hard to have the same emotional connection to the characters and the story without a more lengthy build up. If you're thrown into a story and it's resolved within an hour or two it's just a bit more difficult to care. I wasn't super emotionally invested in it, however this was fast-paced, inventive, and featured some themes that I'm particularly drawn to. There were fun elements to the story, I'm always a sucker for a gnarly blood magic system and I loved the idea of magical "familiars." Also I'm always into morally corrupt characters and this book explores the potentially corrupting influence of power. Overall, this was a fun short story, especially if you're into magical shenanigans and themes involving power and corruption. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Renaissance Kate

    I was just approved for an ARC of this novella! Silvia Moreno-Garcia has been on my tbr for awhile and I am SO excited to finally read some of her work!! Thank you to Subterranean Press via Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meisha (ALittleReader)

    For a novella just over 100 pages, I am astounded with what Silvia Moreno Garcia was able to pack in here. By the end, I had grown to love not only the fast paced plot but also the character's. (Especially Yalaxi's Nahual.) This truly packs the punch of a full length novel in just 104 pages. This keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first page. I was so into the story that I pretty much read the entirety of this in one sitting. The plot is very fast paced but also felt complete and I For a novella just over 100 pages, I am astounded with what Silvia Moreno Garcia was able to pack in here. By the end, I had grown to love not only the fast paced plot but also the character's. (Especially Yalaxi's Nahual.) This truly packs the punch of a full length novel in just 104 pages. This keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first page. I was so into the story that I pretty much read the entirety of this in one sitting. The plot is very fast paced but also felt complete and I felt satisfied by the end. Also, oh my god, the characters!! They were so well fleshed out and so tangible. I grew very much attached to the characters in this story and wanted nothing but the best for them. They felt so real! Silvia truly is a fantastic writer. I don't know how she made a novella feel like a full length novel but she did. Color me thoroughly impressed! I am very much looking foreward to reading more by her in the future. This was sent to me by Subterranean Press on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for the E-arc!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    I’m hovering somewhere around 3.5 to 4, so I’ll just go with four. Right off the bat, considering this is a 100 page novella, Moreño Garcia wastes no time with immersive world building and a magical backstory featuring a flawed heroine trying to right mistakes of from her past. I was immediately drawn to Yalxi as a character and the fact that she isn’t afraid to admit the mistakes of her past or apologize for them but instead seeks to correct them was refreshing. I loved the unbalanced yet comic I’m hovering somewhere around 3.5 to 4, so I’ll just go with four. Right off the bat, considering this is a 100 page novella, Moreño Garcia wastes no time with immersive world building and a magical backstory featuring a flawed heroine trying to right mistakes of from her past. I was immediately drawn to Yalxi as a character and the fact that she isn’t afraid to admit the mistakes of her past or apologize for them but instead seeks to correct them was refreshing. I loved the unbalanced yet comical relationship between Yalxi and her shape shifting companion that is fueled by her blood. My only hesitance with this is that the novella built up to the epic battle but wrapped up a little too neatly for me. I definitely wanted to see more consequences of these actions that had played out over a decade. I’d love to see this world expanded upon and revisited. Thank you to Subterranean Press for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy novella from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . This be seventh book I have read by the author and me seventh five star read.  Her writing floats me boat.  I have said before that what I find amazing about all of the author's books is that they feel so different from each other.  The first was a vampire story with stunning vampire culture and history.  The second was a Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy novella from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . This be seventh book I have read by the author and me seventh five star read.  Her writing floats me boat.  I have said before that what I find amazing about all of the author's books is that they feel so different from each other.  The first was a vampire story with stunning vampire culture and history.  The second was a Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz age in Mexico.  The third was a romance with a hint of fantasy set in the Belle Époque era.  The fourth was a coming-of-age thriller set in Baja California in 1979.  Then came a gothic horror set in 1950s Mexico.  Six was a heart-wrenching novella set in space.  Now we have a mesoamerican fantasy novella.  I did not read the blurb going into this so everything was a surprise to me. It was awesome. This one follows Yalxi a blood magic sorceress who has been cast low from her former ruling position and is ready to claw her way back to the top with pure fury and grit.  The blood magic is nasty and takes it's toll on the wielder.  Yalxi's only hope for her success is her own willpower and a nahual.  I adored the nahual but started out not having much sympathy for Yalxi.  I needn't have worried because the novella was quick-paced, enthralling, and had a very unexpected ending.  The dark parts were lightened by Yalxi and the nahual's relationship.  The story was perfectly contained in novella form and was absolutely satisfying. I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia and am excited for her new books later this year.  Arrr!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Thank you NetGalley and Subterranean Press for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars TW: The usage of blood magic (involves cutting oneself and feeding blood), violence, death, murder, graphic depictions of wounds This was my first time reading from Silvia Moreno-Garcia and it certainty won't be my last. The prose is quick paced and enticing, easily drawing the reader in as we meet Xalxi, and follow her on her path for revenge. The incorporation of Aztec mythology Thank you NetGalley and Subterranean Press for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars TW: The usage of blood magic (involves cutting oneself and feeding blood), violence, death, murder, graphic depictions of wounds This was my first time reading from Silvia Moreno-Garcia and it certainty won't be my last. The prose is quick paced and enticing, easily drawing the reader in as we meet Xalxi, and follow her on her path for revenge. The incorporation of Aztec mythology and lore, only added to the richness and depth of the society while providing a bit of context for the reader. My only complaint is that now I want more, like a full-length prologue novel detailing the studies and adventures of Xalxi, Xellah, and Itzyul. Despite, the brevity of this novella it was well-rounded, provided political intrigue and mystery, as well as the complexities of Xalxi's mind. The nahual was a fun, and essentially pretty reasonable addition to the cast of characters and they managed to present truth or, at least perspective into the realities of this world. Moreno-Garcia managed to feed us us bits of information in a timely manner, preventing information overload and not revealing too much as to mangle the impact. This enabled precision in how we saw the story and viewed Xalxi and her decisions, allowing us to piece together the events and formulate new conclusions. As long as you go in understanding this is a quick novella, I feel like this will be an enjoyable and sinister read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kal ★ Reader Voracious

    "At its most rudimentary form, however, magic is willpower and though she no longer had much magic left, inside of her there was still her colossal willpower." A dark tale of blood magic, revenge, and redemption, The Return of the Sorceress is a feat. With vivid descriptions, Silvia Moreno-Garcia says a lot in just about 100 pages while keeping a fast and engaging pace. "If you prodded and poked beneath this veneer of normality you could sense something rotten, but it took a l "At its most rudimentary form, however, magic is willpower and though she no longer had much magic left, inside of her there was still her colossal willpower." A dark tale of blood magic, revenge, and redemption, The Return of the Sorceress is a feat. With vivid descriptions, Silvia Moreno-Garcia says a lot in just about 100 pages while keeping a fast and engaging pace. "If you prodded and poked beneath this veneer of normality you could sense something rotten, but it took a little while to taste the foulness." It's rare that I read a novella where I'm not left wanting for more, but the author has crafted an evocative tale that satisfies my worldbuilding desires and cut away that which is unnecessary for Yalxi's journey. It feels like a complete story, and I love that it feels as if we've been transported into the middle of an epic tale with endless backstory and more adventures beyond the novella's ending. This is a must-read for fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, she's nailed it again! eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for my honest review. This has not affected my opinions of the book nor the content of my review. Quotations are from an unfinished proof and are subject to change upon final publication. Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    More of a 3.5. CW: blood magic, self harm I have only read Gods of Jade and Shadow by the author before and thought her writing was very beautiful. I never did get to Mexican Gothic despite all my friends loving it because I’m not really into horror. So I was pretty excited to get back to her writing, within the fantasy genre again. I’m usually a huge fan of novellas and authors who can say a lot in few pages. And this seemed like the perfect choice especially I’m in the middle of a bad reading s More of a 3.5. CW: blood magic, self harm I have only read Gods of Jade and Shadow by the author before and thought her writing was very beautiful. I never did get to Mexican Gothic despite all my friends loving it because I’m not really into horror. So I was pretty excited to get back to her writing, within the fantasy genre again. I’m usually a huge fan of novellas and authors who can say a lot in few pages. And this seemed like the perfect choice especially I’m in the middle of a bad reading slump. And I loved how this was such a quick read. The author gets right in the middle of the proceedings when the main character has just escaped from her captor/former lover and is seeking ways to get her revenge. It was interesting to see someone once powerful grapple with her current vulnerable predicament, and think about all the choices that she made which led to the present. The dialogue between Yalxi and her nahual is also very sarcastic and fun, adding some mirth to an otherwise dark situation. But the author definitely is best at writing gorgeous descriptions that captivate us, bring the world to life and make us feel the depth of emotions. However, this time I felt the book was too short. There was a good amount of build up towards the final confrontation, and the climax fight was spectacularly written. But it still felt too simple and easy, and didn’t evoke the awe I was expecting. Maybe I just had too high expectations. Or maybe it would have been better if the story was more fleshed out, with deeper look into the characters’ backstories. Overall, it was a fun and quick read with gorgeous writing, and fascinating characters. I just think it could have been wonderful with a longer page count. But I’m very much looking forward to the author’s other upcoming releases.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Blood magic, spirit guides and powerful magic infuse this short and lively tale. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest is a very short but well crafted novella about a sorceress who is seeking revenge on the sorcerer who stole her power. You’ll only need an hour or two to read this, but it’s well worth the time. The Return of the Sorceress is beautifully written, just like all of Moreno-Garcia’s books, and the short length means she doesn’t have a lot of time to waste. The result is a n The nitty-gritty: Blood magic, spirit guides and powerful magic infuse this short and lively tale. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest is a very short but well crafted novella about a sorceress who is seeking revenge on the sorcerer who stole her power. You’ll only need an hour or two to read this, but it’s well worth the time. The Return of the Sorceress is beautifully written, just like all of Moreno-Garcia’s books, and the short length means she doesn’t have a lot of time to waste. The result is a nicely paced, more traditional fantasy than we’ve seen from Moreno-Garcia in the past, but still brimming with the author’s trademark Latin American sensibility. Yalxi is a trained sorceress who has fallen on bad times: her former friend Xellah betrayed her by taking her power—a magic-infused diamond—and now she’s on a mission to get it back. Injured and broken, Yalxi returns to the home she left years ago in order to secure a magical pearl ring. Hidden inside the ring is a nahual, a spirit who can change into various animal forms and who agrees to help Yalxi as long as she feeds it—her own blood and tears. With the help of her dead master, a sorcerer named Teotah, Yalxi plans to draw Xellah into a duel, kill him, and take back the diamond. But the power of the diamond corrupts whoever wields it, and the nahual urges Yalxi to destroy it instead—nothing good will ever come of it. Yalxi yearns to have that power again, but as she knows from the past, the diamond’s power is dangerous and deadly.  The story is surprisingly fast paced and starts as a quest for Xellah and the diamond, but soon morphs into a tense sequence of chase scenes, as Yalxi and the nahual try to avoid the members of the Sorcerer’s Guild and the dogs who are tracking them. This story is quite dark at times, and I loved the scenes at the lake where the spirit of Teotah lives. The entire story, in fact, has a wonderfully dark and blood-soaked atmosphere that works perfectly with Moreno-Garcia’s writing style, although that darkness is tempered by the addition of the nahual and its relationship with Yalxi. I love shapeshifter stories, and Moreno-Garcia takes a bit of Mesoamerican mythology in the form of the nahual and infuses it into her story. I absolutely loved the nahual! It can take the form of any small animal, like a cat, dog or bird (or butterfly—the butterfly on the book cover is the nahual) and it acts as a spirit guide for Yalxi, warning her of danger and helping on the quest to take back the diamond. However, that help isn’t free, and Yalxi must pay the spirit back by feeding it her blood. But as a sorceress who deals in blood magic, Yalxi seems quite comfortable with this arrangement and happily cuts her fingertips for the creature, or in one case when the nahual takes the form of a snake, lets it bite her! I thought their relationship was very sweet, and it reminded me a lot of the bond between Lyra and Pantalaimon in The Golden Compass. The story dips back into the past to fill in some of the blanks about what happened between Yalxi and Xellah, including why they decided to kill their teacher Teotah, which resulted in another tragic death. Yalxi clearly has some ghosts in her past that she’s dealing with in the present. She’s torn between her desire to get back her former power and status as Master Sorceress and the certainty that all her friends are right: the diamond should be destroyed. It was interesting to see her emotional journey: at first, she’s quite arrogant and angry about the loss of her power, but as the story progresses, she begins to regret her past actions and seems to want to make amends.  The final showdown was thrilling, and I loved the heartwarming ending. The Return of the Sorceress is a novella that actually works as a novella—the story is self contained, and for me it was just the right length. (And I’d love my own nahual, although I’m not sure about the whole bloodletting thing!) Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    3.5 stars I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia, but this was not a favorite. Writing: ★★★★ Concept: ★★★ 1/2 Length: ★★ In short (pun intended), this was too SHORT. Clocking in at 104 pages with a shortened-height book with large margins and a large font size, this novella had an interesting concept but I needed at least double the length. Her writing was beautiful—it always is. But part of Moreno-Garcia's charm for me lies in her intricately plotted structures and sense of character development over time. I f 3.5 stars I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia, but this was not a favorite. Writing: ★★★★ Concept: ★★★ 1/2 Length: ★★ In short (pun intended), this was too SHORT. Clocking in at 104 pages with a shortened-height book with large margins and a large font size, this novella had an interesting concept but I needed at least double the length. Her writing was beautiful—it always is. But part of Moreno-Garcia's charm for me lies in her intricately plotted structures and sense of character development over time. I feel like I lost those elements in this piece as we were not with the main character for long enough. I needed more. What was there was great, but I felt so rushed as we sped through backstory, current plot, and the climax and I just desperately wanted more in that world. The idea of the sorcerers and the magic system and the magical being in Yalxi's ring?? I wanted more! Anyways, feel free to ignore my greedy self if you love extremely short novellas. This one would most likely appeal to others who are less attached to the author's novel style. Blog | Instagram

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ria the Wannabe Librarian

    Still unsure how I feel about this novella. RTC.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    I always start my reviews about her books by saying that Moreno-Garcia is one of my favorite writers. I have yet to follow them by “but” since every single piece of her writing I’ve read is just wonderful. This is a short fantasy novella about a priestess named Yalxi, looking for revenge against her former love, who betrayed and deposed her. There is a very rich backstory and it’s wonderful how it’s told without exposition or repetition. The reader learns everything as the plot unfolds, with no I always start my reviews about her books by saying that Moreno-Garcia is one of my favorite writers. I have yet to follow them by “but” since every single piece of her writing I’ve read is just wonderful. This is a short fantasy novella about a priestess named Yalxi, looking for revenge against her former love, who betrayed and deposed her. There is a very rich backstory and it’s wonderful how it’s told without exposition or repetition. The reader learns everything as the plot unfolds, with no unnecessary words. Even if it’s a novella, it creates a world so real and characters so complex that it would shame trilogies ten times it’s length. What makes it unique is the native Mexican elements in the story. Based on the little I know I don’t believe it’s based on any specific Mesoamerican culture, but it does include a nice mix of them. The book is short enough to read in one sitting and it is simply a joy to get immerse in this world. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/ Subterranean Press!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo

    Silvia Moreno-García is well known for bringing her Mexican heritage to her various takes on fantasy and sci-fi tropes, but The Return of the Sorceress is her first foray into the realm of sword & sorcery. And it is a very sucessful and ambitious endeavour that takes us into a fast-paced ride through a world that the author has built with utmost care. This novella offers us the compelling story of the fall and redemption of a once proud sorceress, but there is so much more than the mere anecdote Silvia Moreno-García is well known for bringing her Mexican heritage to her various takes on fantasy and sci-fi tropes, but The Return of the Sorceress is her first foray into the realm of sword & sorcery. And it is a very sucessful and ambitious endeavour that takes us into a fast-paced ride through a world that the author has built with utmost care. This novella offers us the compelling story of the fall and redemption of a once proud sorceress, but there is so much more than the mere anecdote to this book. The world in which Yalxi, the deposed Mistress of the Guild of Sorcerers, and Xellah, her former friend and lover and now Master of the Guild, battle for power is every bit as rich and exciting. It's a world obviously based on Mesoamerican mythology, but Moreno-García takes those roots and makes them bloom in unexpected ways. The blood-focused magic practiced by these sorceress is certainly Aztec-ish, but it has a flavour all of its own. And the world-building that forms the backbone of this story goes beyond the mere fleshing out of its magical elements. Through the "passing" mention of certain materials and past events (both recent and ancient), we are aware that this is a "mixed" world in which once sucessful invaders (Spanish-like conquistadors?) have been defeated, banished or, at least, forced to retreat. And, on a more personal level, we get hints and flashbacks of the life that Yalxi, Xellah, and their friend Itzyul led before the current conflict was even a possibility. Less successful writers would have taken several more hundred pages to even begin creating such a distinctive fantasy world (something that is not simply one more Tolkienesque/Dragonlance/GOT pastiche), but Moreno-García succesfully wraps up Yalxi's adventure while leaving us wondering not only what happens next, but what happened before and what other adventures lay in store for other denizens of this world.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andi

    I'd like to thank NetGalley and Subterranean Press for allowing me a chance to read this short-story. I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia's stories. I think she is a fantastic author and this story continues to cement my joy of reading one of her works. There is something fresh, powerful, and magical when reading what she has to offer and I hope she continues to give us stories for years to come. The reason I do not rate this story up three stars is that it was short but for a short-story I felt things w I'd like to thank NetGalley and Subterranean Press for allowing me a chance to read this short-story. I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia's stories. I think she is a fantastic author and this story continues to cement my joy of reading one of her works. There is something fresh, powerful, and magical when reading what she has to offer and I hope she continues to give us stories for years to come. The reason I do not rate this story up three stars is that it was short but for a short-story I felt things were not quite explained as well as I wanted them to be. I don't want to say I could infer on the relationship of certain characters, but I don't want to outright say that the text didn't lie when it came to the relationship of the evil High Sorcerer and our hero. I just feel that there was not enough focus on who they were currently that lead them to the position that they were in with one another. I felt their childhood history with one another but in the amount of time and the bits when we gleamed what caused her to turn her back on him, I just felt that it didn't really echo what the author wanted us to feel. Also, with the story being as short as it is, and with what it does mention/bring up, you can almost write a world, an entire novel about our main character. I just feel that I was left with more questions than answers than feeling like a story began, happened, and ended as it was supposed to. Other people may come away from this feeling different, but my feelings were just mixed regarding this story. If she plans on making a full novel or a series, I think there is something there but I do think that more is needed to make me feel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was *good* but just not one of my favourites by her. I almost feel like this was constrained by being a novella instead of a full-length story, as much of the atmosphere and developed characterizations that stands out in her other works is missing here. But it's still a decent, compact story and worth a read. This was *good* but just not one of my favourites by her. I almost feel like this was constrained by being a novella instead of a full-length story, as much of the atmosphere and developed characterizations that stands out in her other works is missing here. But it's still a decent, compact story and worth a read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leticia

    A really nice, heart warming Novella that reminded me of The Lord of the Rings The Audiobook was well narrated too. A really nice, heart warming Novella that reminded me of The Lord of the Rings The Audiobook was well narrated too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    sunkissedmiranda

    4/5 stars. A fantasy novella that you can read in one sitting and will leave you wanting just a bit more of the world you left behind. Despite the novella being less than 100 pages, there were a few portions where the pacing dragged and/or the prose did not seem to match what was going in at that point in the story. The beginning and especially the ending are the highlights of the novella for me, as well as Yalxi's character journey and realizing just what she had truly become. I really liked th 4/5 stars. A fantasy novella that you can read in one sitting and will leave you wanting just a bit more of the world you left behind. Despite the novella being less than 100 pages, there were a few portions where the pacing dragged and/or the prose did not seem to match what was going in at that point in the story. The beginning and especially the ending are the highlights of the novella for me, as well as Yalxi's character journey and realizing just what she had truly become. I really liked the attention given to how power corrupts and can damage the relationships you fought so hard to keep years before. The prose could be a bit blunt at times, but that's to be expected in a Moreno-Garcia story. Always to the point, never showy. Sometimes it can stifle the pacing but more often than not and in this novella, it works for her and the story she is trying to tell! I also really liked the use of the nahual! Mesoamerican folklore is sorely lacking in fantasy settings and it's great to see Moreno-Garcia incorporating them in her stories.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cassi

    Keep your eyes peeled for my petition, “All Books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Should Be Sold With Kleenex,” because she is 4 for 4 on books making me sob hysterically by the end. Short and sweet, a perfect novella for summer blood-magic-fantasy fixes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    H. M. L. Swann

    The Return of the Sorceress is a short and quick fantasy novella. Yalxi is a bad ass sorceress who, with the help of her nahual companion, seeks revenge. Silvia Moreno-Garcia packs a punch with this book – fitting in world building and fantastical elements in just 100 pages! A fun read for sure! So grateful to have been selected for an advance copy 🥰 It’s currently available for pre-order and will come out this June! Don't miss it!! The Return of the Sorceress is a short and quick fantasy novella. Yalxi is a bad ass sorceress who, with the help of her nahual companion, seeks revenge. Silvia Moreno-Garcia packs a punch with this book – fitting in world building and fantastical elements in just 100 pages! A fun read for sure! So grateful to have been selected for an advance copy 🥰 It’s currently available for pre-order and will come out this June! Don't miss it!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dale Russell

    A diamond can mean many things. Given in love...Crafted into amazing beauty...Used as a thing of monetary value. But...what if a Diamond was something more? A repository of magics and a symbol of status and power. Then imagine that power being stripped away, leaving you a shadow of your former self. What would you do to get that power back? Yalxi had fallen. From the ultimate Sorcerer to the burnt ember that she now found herself to be. But she WILL be redeemed. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of the A diamond can mean many things. Given in love...Crafted into amazing beauty...Used as a thing of monetary value. But...what if a Diamond was something more? A repository of magics and a symbol of status and power. Then imagine that power being stripped away, leaving you a shadow of your former self. What would you do to get that power back? Yalxi had fallen. From the ultimate Sorcerer to the burnt ember that she now found herself to be. But she WILL be redeemed. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of the amazing MEXICAN GOTHIC gives us another brief journey into a world of magic, revenge, and renewal with THE RETURN OF THE SORCERESS. Though a novella in length, Moreno-Garcia delivers characters and a tale that seems like a much fuller adventure as she packs a lot of story into 89 pages. Yalxi is both powerful and vulnerable as the main character and the supporting cast are a rich variety and blend of good...bad...and some touching on both. For myself, I enjoy stories that weave and twist the story telling in a way that takes me on trip that was leading me to a preconceived destination only to turn the tale on its head and give me a completely unexpected resolution. This story is one of those.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Henry Lazarus

    Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a short tale about The Return of the Sorceress (hard from Subterranean Press). Yalxi’s lover had stolen the jewel she used for power. The jewel contained the essence of the sorcerer who had trained them, and who they had been forced to kill to save their lives. Somehow she has to bring her lover to the swamp where the dead sorcerer lies and fight him. Too short. Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    So this was a joy and I'm so, so excited to recommend it to people. "The Return of the Sorceress" is a novelette or novella (approx. 100 pages long) about Yalxi, the Supreme Mistress of the Guilt of Sorcerers. Except she just got deposed. And she lost her magic diamond, i.e. the source of her tremendous powers. And also she was deposed by her lover and longtime friend (named Xellah) from whom, at the start of the story, she has just barely escaped with her life. Neat, right? And this is all wrapp So this was a joy and I'm so, so excited to recommend it to people. "The Return of the Sorceress" is a novelette or novella (approx. 100 pages long) about Yalxi, the Supreme Mistress of the Guilt of Sorcerers. Except she just got deposed. And she lost her magic diamond, i.e. the source of her tremendous powers. And also she was deposed by her lover and longtime friend (named Xellah) from whom, at the start of the story, she has just barely escaped with her life. Neat, right? And this is all wrapped up in a world built as easily as if the author had done it by magic. As usual with Silvia Moreno-Garcia's work, the story is based in Mexico--or rather a world drawn from pre-Columbian Mexico. What's ingenious about this story isn't just where we start (i.e. at a super low point for our protagonist), but also how Moreno-Garcia tells two stories at once. One track follows Yalxi's scrappy efforts to stay alive, regain a bit of magic, and retake her title, or at the very least kill the man who betrayed her. The other weaves in allllll the backstory we need, which I won't spoil, but boy is it a masterclass in exposition and character arcs told in retrospect (culminating at the end of the book). Seriously, this is some of the most efficient writing I've seen in terms of content and structure, even if the prose doesn't look like much at times (Moreno-Garcia makes writing look easy, which says a lot about how skillful she is). I say "at times" because at OTHER times, the prose is noticeably spectacular. Plot-wise, we get a story about a person who's had to compromise and rationalize her actions over many, many years, and now that she's in danger, she's not the young, spry woman she used to be. But she has the benefit of experience, cunning, and determination. It's a real joy to see those qualities colored by the facts Yalxi chooses to ignore, until eventually she has to face them. Enthusiastically recommended to anyone who likes character-driven stories, revenge tales, and masterclasses in world-building, character development, and threading backstory into the main narrative. Thank you (really, really thank you) to Subterranean Press and Netgalley for giving me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Raenor Spence

    I wish this would’ve been a full length novel but it was also a nice quick read too! Even though I didn’t spend that much time in Yalxi’s world because this was a novella, I loved it regardless and I especially enjoyed how the character was changed by the end. Silvia Moreno-Garcia never disappoints. 🔮✨

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